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Kansas, Bill Self agree to lifetime contract amid lengthy NCAA investigation

Ryan Young
·3 min read
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Bill Self, for as long as he wants, is staying put at Kansas.

Kansas and the longtime basketball coach signed a lifetime contract this week, the school announced on Friday. His current deal was set to expire next March.

The new contract, the school said, is now replaced by a five-year rolling agreement that will automatically add one year after the end of each season throughout Self’s coaching career.

“Every day, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to lead this storied program and there truly is no place else I would rather be,” Self said in a statement. “As we continue to work through the challenges facing our program, we look forward to moving ahead and focusing on our bright future. I would also like to express my gratitude to our alumni and donors, as well as the best fans and students in the nation, that have supported my family and me for the past 18 seasons. I’m excited to remain your basketball coach and compete for many championships in the future.”

Self, 58, took over at Kansas in 2003 and has compiled an incredible 522-118 record in 18 seasons. The Jayhawks have never missed an NCAA tournament under his watch, won 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles, reached three Final Fours and won a national title in 2008.

“Bill Self has meant a tremendous amount to the University of Kansas and our entire Lawrence community throughout his 18 seasons," interim athletic director Kurt Watson said in a statement. "He has changed the lives of so many young men that have played for him throughout his nearly 30 years as a head coach. I have known Bill for many years, but working closely with him over the past few weeks in my current role has shown me even more so on a daily basis how deeply he cares about this program. 

"We are certainly proud that he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at KU in 1985 and that this new contract will ensure he finishes his coaching career here as well.”

Self, Kansas under NCAA investigation

Though Self’s accomplishments in Lawrence undoubtedly warrant such a contract, the deal comes as he and the program are still under investigation related to the massive federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.

The NCAA has alleged that Self and his program committed five Level I violations, the highest possible, and said that two Kansas basketball staff members and Adidas representatives, “intentionally and willfully engaged in NCAA violations and blatantly disregarded the NCAA constitution and bylaws,” per the Kansas City Star.

Kansas is accused of either paying or providing impermissible benefits to multiple recruits, and that Self had knowledge of the improper recruiting contacts while also failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance based on “personal involvement in violations,” per the report.

The investigation has been ongoing for years, and Self has pushed back against the allegations hard.

His new contract appears to protect him from any of those violations, too, and has a special section specifically for the “current infractions case.” Kansas agreed not to fire Self for cause due to “any current infractions matter that involves conduct.” If he is suspended by either the Big 12 or the NCAA, Self agreed that he will forfeit 50% of his salary during that suspension — which, “for clarity purposes,” the school even provided a specific example of in the contract.

Kansas head coach Bill Self
Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a lifetime contract to remain with the program this week. (AP/Orlin Wagner)

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